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Fluoride Study Raises Fresh Questions about the Safety of Water Fluoridation

A new cancer study from India suggests that fluoride is a contributing factor to osteosarcoma, or bone cancer - but just how much fluoride intake causes the uncommon disease is not clear.

Fluoride in Americans' tap water has spurred controversy since its introduction in 1945. Anti-fluoride activists say the risks are too high to add "medication" to the water, while government officials cite scientific studies that prove fewer cavities and no serious risk.

In Europe, most countries refuse to treat their water with fluoride with the exception of the United Kingdom. According to the British Medical Journal, fluoridation was introduced in 1963, and the Department of Health reports that rates of dental decay have been reduced 70 percent. But experts remain divided over epidemiological research that has suggested that water fluoridation might be linked to osteoporosis, dental fluorosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and other health problems.

The latest cancer study indicates blood fluoride levels were significantly higher in patients with osteosarcoma than in control groups, according to research published in Biological Trace Element Research (April 2009).

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